The Columbus Crew lost the first game of their preseason trip to Spain on Monday, falling to Norwegian club Viking by a 5-0 score in La Manga. The match was played in harsh conditions, with temperatures near the freezing mark, rain pelting the players and strong wind gusts up to 15 mph.
Though the Crew held possession for long stretches early on, they fell behind on a defensive miscue from a Viking corner kick in the first half. As Columbus surged forward in search of an equalizer, the Scandinavian side doubled their lead with a quick counterattack. A penalty kick left the Crew in a 3-0 hole at the break.
Viking continued to attack after the intermission, using the wind at their backs to the fullest advantage. A pair of long-range strikes beat Columbus goalkeeper Matt Jordan to cap the scoring, though he could hardly be faulted on either goal.
Columbus head coach Greg Andrulis employed a side mixed with young players and experienced veterans for the encounter. Jordan played the full 90 minutes in goal while the defense was headed up by Robin Fraser. Other veterans taking part included Ross Paule, Simon Elliott and Dante Washington. Crew rookies Ryan Kelly, Marcus Storey, Jamal Sutton and Knox Cameron also contributed.
Four Crew regulars have stayed in the United States to continue training with the U.S. national team. Goalkeeper Jon Busch, midfielder Frankie Hejduk, defender Chad Marshall and midfielder Kyle Martino are all training under U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The U.S. squad is currently preparing for the next CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match against Mexico in Mexico City on March 27. The squad will also play a pair of friendly matches leading up to the qualifier, first meeting Columbia on March 9 in Fullerton, Calif., before hosting Honduras in Albuquerque, N.M., on March 19.
The Columbus Crew have three games in Spain remaining. The Crew will square off with Bodo/Glimt (Norway) on Friday and Start (Norway) on Sunday, with a third match still to be scheduled.
Panamanian Gallardo training with Crew
Luis Gallardo, a member of Panama's U-20 national team, has been invited to join the Crew for training in Spain. Gallardo is part of the Perez Zeledon (Costa Rica) system and hails from Paso Panoa, Panama.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.